Day 40 – Wir setzen uns mit Tränen nieder by JS Bach

This song closes Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. The music is a blend of the sorrow of the tomb and the joy of the resurrection, at times swelling and sweet and at others quiet and severe. Titled “We sit down in tears” it brings to mind those women who saw the crucifixion watched the tomb those first days. On the day of resurrection Mary came to mourn. In the second part of the song the choir sings “Your grave and headstone shall, for the anxious conscience, be a comfortable pillow and the resting place for the soul.” As it was for Mary who was visiting in confusion and fear and who would find there new life for us all.

At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

John 19:41-42

Day 39 – Every Day That We Wake Up It’s A Beautiful Day by Fruit Bats

Even Good Friday is a good day. Especially on Good Friday we know that those who mourn will be comforted. God works resurrection constantly. Jesus enters the grave and is risen once and for all but for us there is a continual dying to sin and committing to the life of faith that is working in us. Every day is for us a new beginning, a new opportunity to live in the life God made us from and made us for. Rev. Stan Whitehouse used to tell me that “Every day is a good day, some are better than others”. Even the days when we struggle, it is a gift from God who walks with us through it.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:34

Day 38 – Truly, Madly, Deeply by Ray LaMontagne

This short instrumental piece is somewhat dream like. Jesus tells us the only sign we would receive is the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah was held at the bottom of the ocean so would Jesus be held in the “heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). Jonah spent his time in prayer, turning towards and seeking God in that darkness. I believe in the grave, in death God the Son was also somehow in prayer turning that darkness into a place of God’s light.

the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Matthew 12:40

Day 37 – I Became Awake by Great Lake Swimmers

Like Lazarus we are called out of our tombs by Christ and his resurrection and freed to live. We emerge from a dark place of loneliness and solitude to find that all life, all humanity is bound by what would burst forth from that tomb. We are all wrapped up tightly in “The center of a seed, so full of possibilities”, Jesus’ own life emerging from the tomb pulling us out of our darkness to arise and shine.

Arise and shine for your light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

Isaiah 60

Day 36 – Love’s Grave by Amelia Curran

Love’s grave is no accident, it is carefully construed. That grave is dug by humanity. Jesus’ death and burial is God’s plan of salvation, a carefully construed plan to encounter sin in the world. But the song ends without resurrection, it ends with forgetting the sacrifice of love and the new life that grows from that planted seed. Our lenten journey has not been so that we could mourn the death of perfect love in Jesus, but so that we could find hope through it.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

Matthew 27:54

Day 35 – Befiehl du deine Wege by JS Bach

The same tune we had on day 8 also from Bach’s Matthaus Passion. The words are different and this time we hear it louder with more confidence and joy. In our hymn book we sing this tune to the hymn “O sacred head surrounded” as we see Jesus crowned with thorns. Jesus who leads us in faith journeys to the cross and grave. We can trust God in Christ to walk with us by the Spirit with the crosses we bear.

Entrust your way
and what grieves your heart
to the most faithful care
of him who governs heaven!
He who gives to the clouds, air and winds
their way, course and path
will also find a way
where your feet can go.

Day 34 – Gonna Have A Jubilee by Deep Dark Woods

Jubilee, after seven sabbath cycles, or in the 50th year, when slaves would be set free, debt would be forgiven, land would be returned. A reset to undo injustice. Jubilee can be lived, it can be practiced with ourselves and with others – a decision to set one another free and to stop carrying the weight that burdens our hearts. If we can let God work that joy in our hearts, it will be a jubilee.

Day 33 – Chained by Brandi Carlile

In Lent we pray that the church will be the wheat that bears it fruit in dying. The fruit of the church is not its organizational prowess, or its strength in numbers. It is the love of God that is shared in a thousand different ways, from generation to generation. It is the love of God that links us, that chains us, and that is good to be remembered. When everything else goes away, our love still remains.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8

Day 32 – Someone You’d Admire – Fleet Foxes

Everyone is complex and holds a multitude within them. We can all tell terrible stories about ourselves, and when we are feeling kind tell beautiful stories as well. We make choices everyday about who we will become, and choices are made around us that help and hinder. Life is not easy and we are not always all we might hope to be. And God knows us. And God loves us. And we continue with each new day.

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139

Day 31 – Nocturne No. 06 in G minor – Chopin

Day 31 – Nocturne No. 06 in G minor – Chopin

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” – Jn 3